This is the way iGoogle tabs are distributed. A page like this is shown to the user who can then decide which of the gadgets will be in the tab.
If a user presses the blue “Add to iGoogle” button, then they are taken to their iGoogle home page and there will now be a new tab of gadgets there…
By using tabs, you can spread more than one gadget at a time. The above example puts a virtual pets tab with six gadgets on a users iGoogle page with one click. This post will tell you how to do this, but first let’s see why we should use an iGoogle tab at all…
Reasons to use iGoogle tabs
- Ranking – If enough people are using your gadgets under a certain tab, there are ranking benefits. If your virtual pet gadget is included in a tab titled “virtual pets” then that is a great indication that your gadget is useful and has something to do with “virtual pets”.
- Distribution – Let’s say you have popular gadgets already in the gadget directory, but also have some new ones as well. You can mix and match your gadgets to help distribute the new ones off the popularity of your old gadgets. For this example I am doing exactly that. There are six gadgets in this virtual pets iGoogle tab. Three of them are very popular (the monkey, panda and the puppy), and three are new (the lion cub, fox, and turtle).
- Promotion – If you have a service you are promoting you can make a couple of themed gadgets around your subject, put them in a tab, and presto, you have something to promote.
How to create an iGoogle tab
To create a tab go to any of your existing tabs on your iGoogle homepage (most people only have the two default tabs – “home” and “chat”). Click the down arrow next to the tab name as shown in image.
Once you click that you will see an option to “add a tab”. Click that and a window will pop up that looks like this…
It will ask you to name the tab you are about to make. Do so wisely. Name your tab for what you would like your gadgets to rank for. If your gadgets are about cars, name it “cars”. Our example one is about virtual pets, so I named it “virtual pets”.
Keep the box checked that says “I am feeling lucky. Automatically add stuff based on the tab name.” This will fill your new tab with gadgets that already rank well for the word or phrase you are naming your tab. Seeing what gadgets Google will fill the tab with lets you know a couple of important things.
1. Who your competitors are – The gadgets that show up are doing well, learn from them and use this information to make better and more useful gadgets for your term.
2. If there are competitors – If Google doesn’t find gadgets for your tab then you have found a niche worth trying.
Okay so now we have an iGoogle tab, what next? I would suggest filling it with your own gadgets! Once you have added your gadgets (and perhaps removed your competitors) look at the tab and see if it offers a useful set of gadgets that are a good fit for the term you used to name the tab. Don’t be afraid to include other peoples gadgets as well. A good goal would be to offer a complete, and helpful set of gadgets. If you named your tab “cars” then make sure there are a good group of gadgets that covers what a user would want about cars (car news, car photos, car videos, etc.).
How to distribute an iGoogle tab
How do you let people know about your tab? The first step is finding out what the share link is so that you can link to the “add tab” page.
To do this go back to that little down arrow next to your new tab…
Click it and choose the “share this tab” option.When you do you will see a window like this…
Do not send this to any friends yet, just send the tab to yourself. Enter your email, and hit send (btw if you have a theme, or user preferences that you want the gadgets in the tab to retain check the “save my settings” box).
You will receive an email that links to the page where users can find your tab as in the image to the right. This page lets an user add the several gadgets within your tab with one click. Very nice.
Now that you are armed with the URL of the tab, go visit and make sure everything looks right and that it is working and displaying well. Make sure you have thumbnail images for all the gadgets in your tab so that the “add tab” page looks pleasing and nice (learn about thumbnail images in my moduleprefs tutorial).
Okay we now have an iGoogle tab full of gadgets, and a URL to share it, let’s promote this baby.
How to promote an iGoogle tab
- First thing I want to say about this is that these “add tab” pages actually can rank rather well so do not be afraid to link to this page lavishly. But how do we get people to go to this “add tab” page.
- If you have a website, feature your iGoogle tab somewhere.
- Using our example, I have a virtual pet Google gadgets page and what I did with this new tab was to make it into sorta an ad. It is in the side bar of that page.
- However and where ever you feature it or link to it from your website, make sure that it is somewhat prominent. You want people to go… “What’s an iGoogle tab?, let’s see….. [click]“
- If you have made a useful set of gadgets then your tab can be shared like any other link. I had a Stephen Colbert tab and it hit the front page of Digg.
- If you do submit to a social sharing / voting site then make sure that you enter the “add tab” page as the URL. Do not link to your own site where you are explaining about it. The reason for this is that Google is a trusted domain. If you are simply linking to a Google “add tab” page, then people who lke the subject will actually feel okay voting up, whereas a blog post about how gosh darn nifty your tab is will appear spammy.
- Link to it from within your gadgets. Add a small text link in your gadgets that takes users your “add tab” page.
- Get a little help from your friends. Tell them about it and have them install it.
You basically can use any technique to promote this as you do any other webpage. What makes iGoogle tabs so neat is that they simplify the process a user must go through in order to use your gadgets.
Instead of having six different campaigns for six different gadgets, why not concentrate on just one for all of your gadgets? In many situations this is wise, and associates your gadgets with their search terms.